It was in 1988, after being ignored by her schoolteacher for the GV Mavlankar pre-national shooting championships that Tejaswini Sawant made up her mind to become the best in the business.
That episode acted as a catalyst and today she is the world champion in rifle shooting. “My shooting could have ended at college. But, that incident acted as a catalyst and I started taking the sport seriously,” Tejaswini, who recently won gold in 50m rifle prone at the World Championships in Munich, told HT on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony organised by Sahara India.
“Today, I realise how that incident played a positive role in my life,” said the 30-year-old Kolhapur shooter, who also equalled the world record on way to gold. “I had no idea that I had equalled the world record on the last shot. The wholehearted clapping gave me an idea that I had achieved something big.”
Tejaswini, who shot 597/600 to equal the record set by Russia’s Marina Bobkova in, confessed that the CWG would be a big opportunity for Indian shooters to assert their supremacy. “There would pressure on everyone. We have to live up to the home crowd’s expectations.”
Dedicating the Munich success to her late father, Ravindra Sawant, Tejaswini said that besides her dad, coach Kuheli Ganguly too had a role to play in her success. “She gave me her weapon in my first nationals in 1999…since then she has been a pillar of strength for me.
Speaking about the financial problems faced earlier, she said, “Even after winning medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, I had to borrow money to buy weapons. But today I have no such worries as I have sponsors.”